Post 25 Years — Thinking Ahead

The following article comes from our Winter 2014 Newsletter: Number 75
"What will our future community look like?"

“What will our future community look like?”

What will our future community look like?

We are aware that more and more lay people are deeply committed to the values and virtues of Visitation/ Salesian Spirituality but not necessarily to the vows.

For 25 years we have lived, deepened, evolved by continued reflection and discernment where we find the will of God. Our first endeavor to meet the above mentioned awareness we called The Visitation Neighbors, a group of men and women, living in community in our neighborhood and participating in our life as far as possible. That group evolved into The Visitation Companions, a broader based group of people now numbering about twenty, not necessarily residing in the neighborhood, but connected to the Monastery.

SK2 Sonny SMVThe “engagements” that were added two years ago now include: The Monastic Immersion Experience, when women can come to live the monastic life with the Sisters for up to one year; The Visitation Internship Program when women or men can volunteer for one year to live and serve in the neighborhood.

Now we envision a Visitation community of laity alongside the monastic community of vowed religious who would embrace the will of God by living Jesus in the midst of our immediate neighborhood. They would have a life of prayer; would extend hospitality, embrace diversity, become self-sufficient, practice mutuality in

"We envision a Visitation Community of laity alongside the monastic..."

leadership as they minister and serve; all done in LOVE. This group would enter into the ministry and activities the Sisters now have, join in the monastic prayer at times and share in the mission to be a prayerful presence in North Minneapolis.

The members could be single men or women, married, families with children, living in north Minneapolis, building on relationships established by the sisters the past 25 years.

So what will our community look like in the future?

 

By Mary Virginia Schmidt, originally from the St. Louis Visitation Monastery, is one of the founding members of the Minneapolis Monastery. 

 

 

 

What is our baptismal call? Reflections and Invitations

Baptism of the Lord Jesus Christ

Baptism of the Lord Jesus Christ

by Melissa Borgmann-Kiemde, Visitation Companion

Priest! Prophet! King!

Can you hear these sacred words spoken by the priest as he anoints a babe in baptism? The child writhes as water is poured, oil is placed, and a candle is lit. We are all witness to this ritual as we proclaim: “You are a child of God. We call you by name. You are beloved.”

But holy hannah! What does it mean to be a “priest, prophet and king”? I giggle to myself thinking of the response to this question for a three month old. Every infant is a “ruler” of sorts in his or her new home, right?  But I gasp a bit contemplating what these words of anointing mean when say, you turn 18 or 25 or 40. Priest? Prophet? King? *gulp*

How do we want to honor our baptismal calls? What do they even sound like as we grow, and perhaps feel even further removed from our small, wriggling, wet, baptized-baby selves? Who are we in this church? How are we really called to live? What name has God given us this day? What do our prophetic, kingly, priestly actions look like in this present context?

I can hear Fr. O’Connell’s translation of these three words: “Priest, or model of love for the people. Prophet, or a speaker of truth and justice. King, or humble, servant leader. ” Okay. But what does it mean to live into these words, or up to their fulfillment? This is the rub for me as a Christian and Catholic.

This Sunday, as we celebrate Christ’s baptism, we are reminded of our own baptisms and invited to reflect on our calls to live and love and be on this earth. How do we want to honor our baptismal calls? What do they even sound like as we grow, and perhaps feel even further removed from our small, wriggling, wet, baptized-baby selves? Who are we in this church? How are we really called to live? What name has God given us this day? What do our prophetic, kingly, priestly actions look like in this present context?

HELP!

On Monday, January 28, 2013, Sr. Katherine Mullin, Vis alumna Meagan McLaughlin and I start our spring semester offering of the “Following the Spirit: Leading a Discerning Life” series at St. Jane House. In this discernment course, we create the opportunity for women and men of all ages and walks of life to reflect on how they are called by God — and we offer space to unpack our baptismal blessings within the context of a small group of fellow discerners.

Does this discernment opportunity speak to you this weekend of baptismal celebration and reflection? Perhaps you have a friend really struggling with their next best step? We invite you to join us – literally, by signing up — and more figuratively,  by holding our cohort in prayer as we journey together  over the next five months.

Will you join us in this process?

Baptismal Blessings! Live + Jesus!

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For more information on the Following the Spirit discernment series, click here.

Salesian Leadership Training: Food for the Journey!

Bianca Franks embraced by Sr. Mary Frances Reis, VHM

Bianca Franks embraced by Sr. Mary Frances Reis, VHM

by Bianca Franks, 2010-2012 Salesian Leaders Cohort Member

Greetings ! I am a single mother and member of the Northside community, having had a close relationship with the Visitation Sisters ever since I was a preteen.  I have become heavily involved in volunteer work in the community with them over the past 5 years.  I was invited to be a part of a Salesian leadership training program they were having which took place over the past two years.  I went into this not really sure what to expect other than wanting to grow as a positive contributor in North Minneapolis.

“What makes a good leader isn’t always the outcome of perfection or winning, but positively changing lives as a demonstration of the God in me…”

The 1st year I met and befriended other likeminded leaders in the community and we focused on strategies and guidance in our individual projects (mine being a single parent support group).  We shared our lives and aspirations with one another and have supported one another on personal and professional levels, facing the reality of successes and failures in a way that those close to us wouldn’t understand.

“…to lead you must follow humbly.”

In the 2nd year of training I was pleasantly surprised that the focus was less strategic and more spiritual, teaching us leaders the importance of complete wholeness within you as a way of guiding and following. Upon completion of this amazing journey I know we all walk away tearfully and with a smiling heart because we have come full circle from who we were, and closer to who God has deemed us to become in the Gospel.

My personal and spiritual growth over the past two years is amazingly unexplainable; I have learned to always trust in God, accept my faults, embrace my failures, and never give up. What makes a good leader isn’t always the outcome of perfection or winning, but positively changing lives as a demonstration of the God in me, and to lead you must follow humbly. If I had to sum it all up I would say my focus used to be the destination and in that there was never any satisfaction or gratitude because I never seemed to get there.  My focus is now my spiritual journey as I walk the road I’ve chosen, and if I can share that part of the experience with anyone, the leader in me has achieved a goal higher than I could ask for.